Web Posted - Wednesday
December 30, 2020
When Steel Talks
Remembering Nervin “Teach” Saunders - Trinidad and Tobago steelpan icon
Global - Nervin Saunders was a luminary of the steel band art form. He inspired many through his teaching and music. He gave most of his life to promoting and educating people about the steelpan instrument.
Born on the 28th of January, 1937, he grew up in Red Hill, D’Abadie. At age 14 he began arranging music that he heard one of his Aunts playing on the piano. After leaving Secondary school, he decided to go into teaching. In 1956 he bagan teaching at the Blanchisseuse Government School. Long before there was a Pan in Schools Coordinating Council endorsed by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Saunders, was the first person to establish a steelband in a public school. Due to the negative view of steelbands at the time, creating such an entity in a school was unheard of! At the time, he didn’t know that he was doing something revolutionary. He simply had a love for the instrument and wanted to “give the students something fun to do” in school apart from their academic work.
Mr. Saunders arranged for several steelbands throughout his career. These include Starlight, Eastern Syncopators, Bestcrete Symphonites, Arima Angel Harps, Simple Song, Birdsong, Nostalgic and Invaders Steel Orchestra. He was also the co-founder of UWI Steel and the Arima Seventh day Adventist Steel Orchestra (ASDASO)
Mr. Saunders received many awards for his contributions to steel pan. Most notably, in 2010 he received the Clive Bradley award from PanTrinbago for his contributions to arranging for the instrument. He also earned countless other awards from the Pan in Schools Coordinating Council (PSCC), Arima Borough council and Arima Seventh day Adventist Church for his pioneering work.
Mr. Nervin Saunders was a well-respected individual in the steel pan fraternity. Through his tireless work for the steel pan instrument, he has left a legacy which many can emulate.
We at the National Steel Symphony Orchestra salute you!